Vitamins C and E, and magnesium helped postmenopausal women maintain healthy bones, and magnesium built bone in girls, in three new studies.
In a bone study, doctors combined antioxidant vitamins and resistance training to measure the effect on bone mineral density (BMD) in postmenopausal women. Thirty-four women, average age 66, were divided into four groups to take either 600 mg of vitamin E plus 1,000 mg of vitamin C per day, the same antioxidants plus exercising three times per week, a placebo with the same amount of exercise or just a placebo. After six months, the placebo-only group had lost significant lumbar spine BMD, while the antioxidant-only and antioxidant plus exercise groups remained stable.
Magnesium helps increase BMD, but doctors don’t know how. In an effort to find out, researchers in an osteoporosis study thought bone turnover, the natural cycle of bone loss and gain, might provide clues.
In osteoporosis, bone turnover gets out of balance, as the body loses bone faster than it can replace it. Over 30 days, 10 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis took 1,830 mg of magnesium citrate per day, while a second group of 10 women of the same age, stage of menopause and body mass index took a placebo. Researchers measured signs of bone turnover, including the hormones that regulate calcium. While there was no change in placebo, the rate of bone loss slowed significantly in the magnesium group.
In a related study, doctors explained there are two ways to prevent osteoporosis: build maximum bone during adolescence and minimize bone loss after menopause. In this study, 120 healthy girls, aged 8 to 14, who got less than 220 mg of magnesium per day from all sources, took 300 mg of magnesium per day (in two 150 mg doses) or a placebo. After 12 months, while there was no change for placebo, girls in the magnesium group saw bone mineral content (BMC) increase slightly in the lumbar spine and increase significantly in the hip.